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Wednesday, 08 January 2014 00:00

4 Healthy Alternatives to Soda

Many of you know that my soda of choice is Diet Coke. I've had an on-again, off-again relationship with it, as I talked about in my blog, "If Diet Coke Were Broccoli." I've even made giving it up part of my 2-0-1-3 Plan and 2-0-1-4 Plan. I have significantly reduced my intake of it, but I still did have it on occasion last year. I know it's not healthy for me, but I love the taste of it. I'm trying again this year to give it up for good. Eight days in and I'm holding strong!

Soda is not good for our health. We know that. Studies show that diet sodas contribute to weight gain and Type 2 diabetes. Some say that regular soda is preferable despite the increase in calories because it doesn't contain the artificial sweeteners. There are many health warnings about aspartame, the sweetener in Diet Coke and many other diet sodas. It is believed to cause side effects like headaches, dizziness, mood changes, loss of memory, and skin reactions. In addition, soda consumption has been linked to lower bone density, since it can block your bones' absorption of calcium.

We may kick the soda habit for health reasons, but it doesn't mean we don't miss the caffeinated, fizzy, sweet pop every now and then. I reached out to the online 4QL community and got some great ideas from all of you! Here are four of my top choices.

1. Unsweetened iced tea. Two good choices are Tejava and Trader Joe's Green & White Tea with Mint. Both are unsweetened with no artificial flavors, and are great plain or with a squeeze of lemon. For those that like the caffeinated jolt of soda, iced tea fits the bill since it contains caffeine.

2. Sparkling water with lemon, lime, or orange slices. For those that like the fizz of soda, the sparkling water gives the drink a little extra something.

3. Sparkling water with a touch of pure fruit juice, like cranberry juice. For those that like the sweetness of soda, the addition of fruit flavors does the trick.

4. Fruit and vegetable flavored water. Add fresh cucumbers, strawberries, mangoes, or lemons, and let them naturally flavor the water.

Being healthy doesn't have to mean depriving yourself of the tastes you like. It just means being creative and finding healthier alternatives. When the urge for a soda strikes, try one of the ideas above and see if it fits the bill.

Do you have a soda that you are trying to break up with? If so, which one and what works for you?

Please share your comments and questions below.



Kick the soda habit for good!





Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Body Blog
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 00:00

Food Swapping for Health

My favorite new food discovery is nutritional yeast. If you don't know about it yet, let me introduce you. I use it as a Parmesan cheese substitute. I put it on salads and soups, but you can also top your casseroles, pasta, and popcorn with it.

It is inactive so it does not have leavening ability. I buy it from the bulk bin at Whole Foods. Nutritional yeast is a good source of B vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein. Some describe it as having a cheesy, nutty flavor. I have been eliminating dairy from my diet, so I like having nutritional yeast as my "cheese."

When I posted this on the FQL Facebook page, one follower said, "After watching my daughter, who is allergic to dairy, look longingly at plates of mac and cheese, I found that I could use nutritional yeast to make the sauce. It looks the same as the stuff her friends have and she loves the taste! I felt like a star!"

I also recently posted about healthy alternatives for soda. I have given up Diet Coke for health reasons, but I miss the taste of it. I received some great ideas from everyone and decided to share them in an Examiner article I wrote today, "4 healthy alternatives to help kick the soda habit."

Another favorite healthy food swap of mine is cauliflower "mashed potatoes." Steam cauliflower and put it in a food processor. You can add a little butter (and nutritional yeast!). Blend and serve. It tastes just like mashed potatoes. Potatoes are fine nutritionally but cauliflower is even better.

What are your favorite healthy food swaps? Comment below and share your ideas! They could make for another great Examiner article.

Published in Body Blog
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Published Articles

Green Exercise: Good for the Sole and Soul
Natural Awakenings, March 2011

Sustainable Danville Area: Find Your People
Danville Today News, February 2012 (Page 6)

Are Genetically Modified Foods Making Your Child Sick?
Active Kids, June 2012 (Page 23)